What's Going On? October 01 2014, 2 Comments
Lynne M. Jackson
President And Founder Of The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation
In August of 2014 a young black man, Michael Brown, was shot and killed in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri by a white Ferguson, Missouri police officer. Mr. Brown was unarmed. Ferguson is about fifteen (15) miles from where I live. There are ongoing peaceful protests and candlelight vigils to honor Mr. Brown and to represent the anger and, what is believed, unjust treatment of Mr. Brown. Racial tensions have been bubbling below the surface in St. Louis City and St. Louis County for years. People who cared nothing about Mr. Brown, his family or the community took advantage by looting businesses. A sometimes over zealous police force turned Ferguson into a military state. These actions by looters and certain police tactics caused increased tension that surfaced and exploded into multiple arrests and injured police officers.
In April of 1846 a middled aged black man and slave, Dred Scott and his wife Harriet, sued for their freedom in 1846, at the St.Louis Old Courthouse, about fifteen (15)miles from where I live. Dred and Harriet lost the first trial. They were granted a second trial in the same courtroom in 1850 and twelve (12) white men determined the Scotts should be free. Their owner at the time, Mrs. Emerson did not want to lose valuable property and appealed her case to the Missouri State Supreme Court which reversed the ruling in 1852. After appealing their case to the U.S. Supreme Court the Scotts lost.
Earlier this year I spoke with, Lynne M. Jackson, President and Founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. Lynne is the great great-granddaughter of Harriet and Dred Scott. That’s only three generations away from slavery. Lynne says she was very aware of the family history even as a young girl. Whether at church, family gatherings, or hanging out in her neighborhood folks knew them as “that Dred Scott family”. Pride runs deep in the family, especially the older generation and why not? A slave risking his life to become a free man? A person not considered a person but an expensive piece of property using the judicial system to seek his freedom? What would you do to be able to speak and think freely? To be able to walk along the sidewalk without having to move out of the way of a white person into the street (Though free blacks had to to that too). The very things we take so much for granted. While we know the historic details we don’t know why Mr. Scott chose to sue for his freedom when he did. Maybe he was just tired.
Lynne's father, Dr. John Alexander Madison and the great-grandson of Dred Scott, had been the keeper of knowledge and family historian. That task, by Providence, was passed on to Lynne in 2006 when she created the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. Lynne is a whirlwind of energy and inspiration that draws people to her. Traveling the country speaking to historical and educational organizations; Lynne spreads the message of the foundation’s mandates; commemoration, education, and reconciliation. Reconciliation is a tough nut to crack but Lynne has worked with various organizations in the St. Louis area including the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Library. She co-hosts the annual Dred Scott Reconciliation Forum that takes place in Marshfield, MO with prominent historical families including President Harris S. Truman and Thomas Jefferson.
Right now Lynne is working on the Dred Scott Footprints Bus Tour which will take place in early November of this year.
This is what I know is true; by bringing people together who choose to listen to each other, we create knowledge and trust and lose fear and hatred of one another.
On the Front Page of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation are the words;
“Pray for the Michael Brown Family, our Law Enforcement, our Legal Community, Ferguson,
and the St.Louis Region.”
"Peace, Truth, and Justice."
"If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem."
Visit the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation website at